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COUTURE Announces the Debut of the Luminaries by COUTURE

Six talented BIPOC designers to showcase diverse work to the COUTURE community.




(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK, NY — COUTURE announces the debut of the Luminaries by COUTURE at its 2024 event. A representation of six of the seven mentees who make up the second mentorship program spearheaded by the COUTURE Diversity Action Council (DAC), these BIPOC designers will showcase a range of imaginative designs and singular points of view on the COUTURE show floor. Hailing from a range of backgrounds and experiences, the group also presents a diversity of aesthetics, price points and approaches to the design process. From experts in CAD to seasoned bench jewelers to gemstone aficionados, each of the designers has chosen jewelry design as the medium for expressing a unique world view.

“We are thrilled to welcome this collective of creatives to COUTURE,” enthused Gannon Brousseau, COUTURE director and EVP, Emerald. “One of our guiding principles is our commitment to championing and fostering fresh talent, and the work of each of these designers showcases both acumen and an expansive understanding of jewelry as an art form. We are proud they have entrusted the COUTURE community with sharing a glimpse into the cultural influences and personal journeys that have informed their collections.”

The designers who make up the Luminaries by COUTURE are Alexia Connellan, Ama McKinley of Ilium Wing, Bliss Lau, Casey Perez, Hiba Husayni of ZAHN-Z Fine Jewelry and Sasha Flynn of Adore-Adorn. Individual artist Biographies of each of these designers can be found here. (Ope Omojola of Octave Jewelry continues to be a part of the program but will not be participating at this year’s COUTURE.) Each of the designers have been engaged in the program since April of 2023. In addition to a one-on-one pairings with mentors, and visiting COUTURE 2023 in an observational capacity, the collective has also engaged in bi-weekly education led by industry experts covering a variety of subjects, from finance to merchandising and everything in between.

“It has been absolutely delightful to witness the evolution of this group of mentees,” noted Eric Ford, Precious Jewelry Buyer of Neiman Marcus, who leads COUTURE’s Diversity Action Council. “While I’m impressed with the wealth of knowledge and talent they already possessed when they joined the program, I am even more impressed with the knowledge they have sought throughout; sometimes knowing what you don’t know is the biggest challenge. It is also heartening to see how close they have grown on a personal level; they truly love one another and extend themselves to support one another’s success. That is a rare thing in this world, and it is beautiful.”

Platinum Guild International (PGI) extended their seminal Platinum Spotlight program to this collective of designers, providing those who opted in with platinum with which they could create pieces for their COUTURE debut. Ama McKinley, Bliss Lau and Hiba Husayni took advantage of the opportunity to create bespoke work with the naturally white metal. “The unique qualities of platinum open the door to unlimited diversity in jewelry design,” explains Kevin Reilly, SVP, PGI USA. “We are honored that these Couture Luminaries are expressing their artistry in platinum. Just like fine art, these platinum creations will last for generations.”

De Beers is supporting the Luminaries by COUTURE on a fundamental level by sponsoring the salon build where the group will be showcasing its jewelry, ensuring the designers’ designs will be on display in an environment befitting the quality and creativity of its work. “De Beers Group is proud to support the Luminaries by COUTURE as representatives of the next generation of fine jewelers,” noted Sally Morrison, director of PR for Natural Diamonds. “New voices that bring diverse perspectives to our craft deserve our whole industry’s nurture and attention.”


The DAC was formed in the summer of 2020 to create a catalyst for addressing the issues of systemic and institutionalized racism which have contributed to the lack of diversity within the fine jewelry industry. Through demonstrated leadership, as well as collaboration with its community, the DAC’s mission is to contribute to the creation of a more diverse, inclusive and equitable industry through the implementation of programs and initiatives that promote and support Black, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) within all facets of the jewelry ecosystem. The DAC is made up of retailers, designers, press and industry insiders from the COUTURE community, as well as members of the COUTURE team. A complete list of DAC members can be found here.

For more information about the Luminaries by COUTURE, please contact Michelle Orman.



She Wanted to Spend More Time with Her Kids. She Called Wilkerson.

Your children are precious. More precious than gold? Absolutely! Just ask Lesley Ann Davis, owner of Lesley Ann Jewels, an independent jewelry store that — until the end of 2023 — had quite a following in Houston, Texas. To spend more time with her four sons, all in high school, she decided to close her store. Luckily, she was familiar with Wilkerson and called them as soon as she knew she wanted to move on to bigger, better and more family-focused things. Was she happy with her decision? Yes, she was. Says Davis, “Any owner looking to make that life change, looking to retire, looking to close, looking for a pause in their career, I would recommend Wilkerson. Hands down!”

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